Comet landing site confirmed

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European engineers have finalized the landing site on Comet 67P/C-G for Rosetta’s Philae lander.

The link includes much detail about what Philae will do both on the way down as well as after it lands. November 12 will be quite exciting.



  • danae

    It will be, indeed. One question: The news release states that Rosetta will accompany the comet through their closest approach to the Sun next August and onward to the outer Solar System. Will Rosetta require guidance from the ground to stay with the comet as they move away from the vicinity of Earth, or will this be a natural process?

  • With objects as small as the nucleus of Comet 67P/C-G, it requires significant engineering skill to keep Rosetta close by and in “orbit.” In truth, the spacecraft really isn’t in an orbit. Instead the two objects are orbiting the Sun in tandem with each other.

    At some point, when Rosetta’s fuel supplies run low, a decision will have to be made. Either they can send it on its own path, or they can try to bring it down on the surface, as NASA engineers did with NEAR when it was traveling with the asteroid Eros.

  • danae

    That’s interesting. Thanks for the clarification, Bob. I wasn’t aware of the NEAR mission when it took place.

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